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European Heritage Days in Paris in 2023

European Heritage Days in Paris in 2023

What is the history of the Heritage Days?

In 1984, Jack Lang, Minister of Culture under François Mitterrand's government, introduced an "Open House Day in historical monuments". The aim of the event was to allow visitors to discover or rediscover French history through art in general: sculpture, painting, architecture, etc. Many monuments, some of which were closed to the public for the rest of the year, opened their doors. The first edition took place on 23 September 1984 and was an immediate success.

At the second Council of Europe conference in Granada, Spain, on 3 October 1985, the French minister proposed that the event become European.

In 1991, the Council of Europe officially instituted European Heritage Days.

In 1992, in France, this operation was extended from one to several days. The event took the name of National Heritage Days, again on the initiative of Jack Lang, who had returned to his post at the Ministry of Culture.

From 1993 onwards, 34 European countries joined in the event, offering visits to more than 26,000 monuments.

In 2000, 40 countries participated in the Heritage Days, making it one of the first major international cultural events. With the Minister of Culture Catherine Tasca, this festival changed its name to its current name: the European Heritage Days or JEP. The event was extended to other countries in the following years.

More than 50 countries around the world now participate in the event. Public monuments offer free admission. The majority of private establishments offer reduced rates. Visitors can discover the historical heritage of civil or religious monuments, but also agricultural and industrial heritage, as well as know-how. The event raises awareness of Europe's cultural richness and diversity, as well as the need to preserve its heritage.


What is the theme of the European Heritage Days 2023?

For the 40th edition, the city of Paris prepared two themes for the European Heritage Days 2023 : Living Heritage and Sports Heritage. The theme is set by the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

Living heritage represents all the traditions, know-how, practices or knowledge transmitted from generation to generation. This can translate into art with the carnival for example, crafts or knowledge related to the environment and space.

The various places, museums, private and public historical monuments showcased during this 40th edition of the European Heritage Days perfectly reflect this theme.

Naturally, the theme of Sports Heritage fits perfectly, on the occasion of the Cultural Olympiads.


What is the programme of the Heritage Days 2023?

Take advantage of the European Heritage Days to visit the main monuments in Paris. You can choose between guided tours, activities and workshops.

Many monuments usually closed to the public open their doors for the occasion. Hundreds of the city's most important monuments and tourist sites will be open free of charge during this exceptional weekend. Here are some examples:

  • The Banque de France, located at the Hôtel de Toulouse, exceptionally invites you to visit this place full of wealth.
  • The Senate welcomes you exceptionally to help you discover the Luxembourg Palace and its exteriors.
  • La Conciergerie, a former prison, lets you discover its premises marked by its history.
  • The Paris observatory gives you access to its world of astronomy for a weekend with several rooms: the speaking clocks room, the Cassini room or the Arago dome with its astronomical telescope from the 19th century.
  • Victor Hugo's house offers you a leap in time to retrace the life of this renowned 19th century writer.
  • The art workshops of the Louvre Museum open their doors to the public, to exhibit all the talents hidden behind the treasures of this museum.
  • The Arc de Triomphe will be accessible for free.
  • The National Institute of Art History (INHA) - Galerie Colbert will introduce the public to numerous exhibitions for the occasion.
  • Many churches will offer self-guided and commented tours.
  • The Sorbonne. You can discover the history of this building.
  • The City of Architecture and Heritage of Paris will be open to the public exceptionally.
  • Parisian theatres such as the Comédie Française will offer guided tours of parts of the building that are usually closed to the public, accessible however by registration.

Be sure to plan the monuments you want to visit so that you can register for visits if necessary.


Discover Paris from another angle thanks to our Paris Discovery + Paris By Night tour. Take advantage of this unique experience to admire the City of Light shining with a thousand lights.